“Sorry snowflakes but WFH isn’t working… Remote staff will suffer from lack of human contact, a friendly hand on the shoulder, and a quiet word in their shell-like when they screw up” trumpets unintentional self-parody Richard Littlejohn.
His column, which he wrote from his house in a gated development in Florida, appeared in the ‘no longer a paper of record’ (Wikipedia) Daily Mail. It was based on his experience in Fleet Street and illustrated with a photo of him in the Daily Mail office 40 years ago.
No, honestly, I’m not making this up.
Completely without irony, he went on to explain “Back then, Fleet Street was a bustling industrial village dating back to 1500, when the first printing press was installed.” That the entire industry has embraced technology, left Fleet Street and dispersed around the country, making his experience not even relevant to his own industry any more, seems to have escaped him. Why it would be relevant to young people today is anyone’s guess.
He was echoing the comments made by part-time Prime Minister and Worzel Gummidge impersonator Boris Johnson in his chaotic speech to the CBI.
‘I know there are some people who think that working habits have been remade by the pandemic. I don’t want to be dogmatic about it, but I have my doubts.’ he opined, dogmatically.
‘There are sound evolutionary reasons why mother nature does not like working from home.’
Really? Evolutionary reasons? What, do the soft furnishing stop us hearing the approach of Lions, or something?
Apart from this all being arrant nonsense, it highlights a problem about any discussion about work and the office. Anyone who has ever worked in an office believes that not only are they automatically an expert on the topic, but also that their personal experience is universally applicable.
Their ‘sample of one’ trumps any data, analysis or theorising. That’s how it was for them so that’s how it is for everyone. To be any other way is go against the forces of nature and will probably make the sky fall in. It’s the Turkey Lurkey school of reasoning.
Fortunately, we do have some data. In a survey of young adults, over half said they would turn down a job that didn’t offer flexible working. They will be in workplace long after the ageing blowhard Littlejohn has hung up his quill pen and Johnson is spaffing his pension away on boozy holidays.
The die is cast, the argument is over.
The ‘snowflakes’ will have the final say.